Community Consultations in Cam Bay

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Spending time getting to know the community members of Cambridge Bay has been an important part of our February visit. While meeting local people and having the opportunity to learn more about day-to-day life, cultural traditions and history has been enriching on a personal level, it also enables us to begin to think about ways in which we can make our ARCBIO project relevant to communities in the Kitikmeot Region.

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Since ARCBIO is focused on biodiversity in and around Inuit lands, we want to ensure that we are seeking appropriate permissions from relevant community organizations. The Hunters and Trappers Organizations (HTOs) are one of these groups. In Cambridge Bay we met with Beverly Maksagak, Manager of the Ekaluktutiak HTO; Bobby-Patty Greenley, President; and other local members including Peter, Clarence, and Mark. Discussions with the HTOs have been very enlightening and included valuable knowledge sharing around biodiversity in the area, tips to help us develop our sampling protocols, as well as discussions about factors affecting food security.

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We are so grateful to the many people who spent time with us, and showed generosity and friendship during our first ARCBIO trip

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 Another important group in the community is the Kitikmeot Heritage Society (KHS); a leading organization for culture and heritage in Nunavut’s Kitikmeot Region. We enjoyed touring the KHS library, exploring the cultural and historical exhibits, and reading local and Inuit literature.

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the kitikmeot heritage society

A cultural and heritage resource for communities and visitors of Nunavut’s Kitikmeot Region.

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Navalik Helen Tologanak is a Cambridge Bay journalist and Elder who was generous with her time, sharing stories about her life and Inuit Traditions. When we met Helen at the Arctic College during Culture Days, she shared stories while other women taught us how to sew traditional mitts made of seal skins, fox fur, and fuzzy batting. As we cut patterns in the skins, Helen explained that long before Inuit peoples could readily purchase clothing in stores, many took great pride in making their own clothing that was not only functional and warm, but also fashionable. She explained that a hunter would bring the best skins he could find for his family to sew and this was a sign of his love, and that the women who sewed the clothing would sew the most beautiful designs they could muster to show their love. This, Helen explained, was how Inuit people could be viewed as “rich”; not rich with money, but rich with love.

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Nandana Prasad, coordinator of the Arctic College, was incredibly gracious in allowing us to join the College’s Culture Day activities. Interestingly enough, ‘Nan’ did her B.Sc. in Agriculture and Microbiology at the University of Guelph before moving to Cambridge Bay in 2006. The Kitikmeot Campus located in Cambridge Bay, that we visited, is just one of the five campuses of the Arctic College that provides educational opportunities to all residents of Nunavut. They offer a range of training programs in areas of health and wellness, education, business, culture, and trade and technologies.

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Ian Hogg introduced us to his friend George Angohiatok, a local Elder and hunter who previously held the role of vice chair of the Hunters and Trappers Organization in Cambridge Bay.

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george angohiatok shares his story

George shares his stories about his life, hunting practices and experiences on the land.

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Gathering in the circular Knowledge Sharing Centre at CHARS, George shared stories about his life, hunting practices, and experiences on the land. He said one day he’d like to record his stories in a book for younger generations to read. He agreed to share a story on film which we gave to him to keep as a record.

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knowledge sharing centre at chars

George, a local Elder and hunter, shared stories about his life, hunting practices and experiences on the land

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We are grateful to the many people who spent time with us, and showed generosity and friendship during our first ARCBIO trip. We hope that much of what we learned and experienced in our short visit will be reflected in our project.

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